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Seamus Hickey seeks out a Duhallow option against UICC in the Bon Secours Co. SFC at Páirc Uí Rinn Photo by John Tarrant

Seamus Hickey seeks out a Duhallow option against UICC in the Bon Secours Co. SFC at Páirc Uí Rinn Photo by John Tarrant

Seamus Hickey seeks out a Duhallow option against UICC in the Bon Secours Co. SFC at Páirc Uí Rinn Photo by John Tarrant

corkman

COUNTY SFC COLLEGES/DIVISIONAL PLAY-OFF

Duhallow 0-10

UCC 0-8

Duhallow survived a tough examination from UCC to claim a narrow two point victory in a hard fought Bon Secours County SFC (Colleges/Divisional) play-off at Páirc Uí Rinn.

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For the best part of the hour, Duhallow's game carried a greater threat on controlling the contest through high tempo fare on breaking forward with neat passages of football. Hardly surprising, given their collective preparation and a recent run of club fixtures that productive play failed to be sustained into the second half.

It allowed UCC to mount a comeback, sniffing around the Duhallow danger zone late on in search of a match winner yet the divisional men weren't found wanting much to the delight of team coach Ned English.

“It was a real gutsy performance from ourselves, UCC with six Kerry players operating offered a real championship battle. Our key players stood up as did the supporting players, young Mikey Browne and Danny Linehan, first time involved, were outstanding,” he said.

A setback in the warm up saw Duhallow suffer a blow with long time servant “Donncha O’Connor picking up a knock and replaced by Newmarket’s Browne.

“Donncha is important to us, experienced and our free taker but its how you deal with adversity that counts, there is a courage and a culture that beats talent every day of the week, evident tonight where the spirit of Duhallow stood out,” said English.

“It was a total team effort, total belief and total work rate, the win is very sweet, its easy to coach people who want to be coached,” he said.

A lively opening saw Conor O’Callaghan’s pointed free answered by Michael O’Gara to level matters for the students.

Duhallow looked sharp and focused, their early dominance stemmed from the impact of Kevin Crowley, Kevin Cremin and Bart Daly withdrawn from attack created an impression in defence as did Paul Walsh and Linehan in the centre and the industry of Mark Ellis, Seamus Hickey and O’Callaghan struck a chord going forward.

Both O’Callaghan and Ellis added points before Crowley sauntered upfield to thump over a massive point from distance, the 0-5 to 0-1 advantage reflected Duhallow’s upper hand.

UCC pulled their game together, back-to-back points from Dingle representatives Dylan and Conor Geaneys trimmed the arrears. Still Duhallow looked dangerous, Gavin Creedon of Kilshannig averted danger from an O’Callaghan effort.

Indeed, Duhallow looked the more dangerous, good work by Paul Walsh set in motion Seamus Hickey for a rousing score and a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage at the interval.

UCC rang the changes, introducing Damien Burke and Meath player James McEntee, the Royal man called into action to dispossess Danny Linehan when lining up for a possible goal.

Indeed Duhallow had restarted with a blast, O’Callaghan obliged with a pointed free and Walsh steered over a delightful effort. It looked possibly a one sided contest but Duhallow appeared to tire subsequently, their composure rattled by the College’s introduction of fresh legs.

That improvement ruffled Duhallow, back to back points from Daire Clear and substitute Conor Hayes narrowed the gap 0-8 to 0-5 at the second water break. Duhallow resumed with a much needed score, good work by Linehan and O’Callaghan placed Crowley to land his second point.

UCC ‘s chase continued and though passing up a number of opportunities from play and frees, the pace and accuracy of Kerins O’Rahillys Hayes began to create an impression with a brace and a third point from Conor Geaney left the minimum between the sides at 0-9 to 0-8.

Against the run of play, a marauding Duhallow attack opened up the College defence but an Ellis fisted attempt rebounded off the crossbar. One speculated that College had the potential to pull the game out of the fire and at the end of regulation time, a long range free from Geaney fell short.

Having missed a couple of chances from placed balls, Duhallow’s nerves were calmed somewhat on a productive move saw Cremin link up for O’Callaghan to deliver his fifth point.

Now Duhallow held a nervous two point lead, College came raiding for a winning goal only for the Duhallow last line of defence under the capable hands of Kryle Holland, John McLoughlin and Paudie Allen emerge as unmoveable obstacles.

At the full time whistle, Duhallow had maintained a consistent run of advancing to the quarter-final stage every year since 2015.

DUHALLOW: K Holland (Kanturk); D Cashman (Millstreet), J McLoughlin (Kanturk), P Allen (Newmarket); K Crowley (Millstreet) 0-2, K Cremin (Boherbue), S Hickey (Millstreet); P Walsh (Kanturk), D Linehan (Castlemagner); M Browne (Newmarket), M Ellis (Millstreet) 0-1, C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe) 0-5 (0-3f); B Daly (Newmarket), S Hickey (Rockchapel) 0-1, D Moynihan (Ballydesmond) Subs: E Murphy (Dromtarriffe) for D Moynihan (50), TJ Brosnan (Newmarket) for D Cashman (61), N Flahive (Millstreet) for S Hickey (61)

UCC: G Creedon (Kilshannig); C Gammell (Legion), B Curtin (Kilshannig), E Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla); E Dodd (Canovee), D Phelan (Aghada), D Casey (Austin Stacks); D O’Connor (Na nGaeil), C Nyhan (Ballinascarthy); I Jennings (Kilmacabea), S Quilter (Austin Stacks), M O’Gara (Austin Stacks) 0-1; D Clear (Laune Rangers) 0-1, C Geaney (Dingle) 0-2, D Geaney (Dingle) 0-1 Subs: D Burke (Na nGaeil) for D Phelan(ht) J McEntee (Curraha, Meath) for C Nyhan (ht), C Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys) 0-3 for I Jennings (39), S O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for D Clear (49)

REFEREE: A Long (Argideen Rangers)


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